Good morning, my stitching friends! Has it really been six weeks since I last posted? Such a lot has happened since then that I hardly know where to begin... But, since this is primarily a stitching blog, I guess I'll begin with the good stuff--the stitching! In spite of my crazy month in August, I was able to get a bit of stitching done--primarily for family and friends, but I also managed to finish my ornament for the month.
My dear friend in Northern Ireland, Lois (Of Needles, Pins, & Stitching Things blog ), celebrated her birthday in mid-August. To help make her day even more special, I decided to stitch something for her so I created this little pillow from a chart by Merrily Beams called "Trifles." I just love everything about this design from the checkerboard roof to the two friends all dressed in blue. I added our first initials so when she sees it she'll always remember our friendship.
Merrily Beams design: "Trifles"
I stitched Lois's gift on 32 ct. antique ivory Belfast linen with a variety of overdyed and DMC threads--I just chose the colors randomly based on whatever I thought looked nice together. I gave the two friends different colored hair--Lois has the lighter shade and me the darker brown--just like in real life. To finish it off, I backed it with this wonderful blue alphabet sampler fabric and added some handmade blue cording. I was so happy that Lois liked my little gift and I hope the joy she felt on her birthday continues throughout the coming year!
Finished "Trifles" pillow for Lois
My next finish was a gift for my youngest sister who celebrated a very special birthday this month--she turned 50! Ah, to be 50 again--when you're only a year and a few months away from 60, 50 sounds very, very young, indeed!! She recently spent a wonderful few weeks in France with her husband and sons so I thought this Blackbird Designs freebie would be perfect for her. "Souvenir de France" is stitched on 40 ct. pearl gray Newcastle linen with WDW's thread in Gunmetal.
BBD's Souvenir de France freebie
I added her initials in the upper left and moved the motifs underneath so that they were more symmetrical than shown in the original chart. To finish up the pillow, I backed it with the black and white fabric shown and edged it with a ruched gauzy black ribbon. And the smell--perfect for a souvenir of France--I filled it with a combination of dried lavender and ground walnut shells. I hope she enjoys it and will think of her delightful French sojourn (and her big sister) each time she sees it!
Birthday pillow for my sister
My final bit of stitching is a bit of much-needed "comfort stitching" which I stitched at the beach last month. It features two of my favorite things--sunflowers and Prairie Schooler Santas! This PS 1994 Santa is stitched "over one" on 27 ct. clay Linda cloth with the suggested DMC threads. Isn't he jolly with his parcel of sunflowers and those hitchhiking blackbirds? A perfect piece to stitch at the end of summer...
Prairie Schooler 1994 Santa
The finish is quite simple--just some handmade cording in DMC 729 and a backing made of the burgundy checked fabric shown on the right. I always believe that when there is a lot going on in a piece like there is in this one, it is better to keep things simple in your final finish. I was so pleased when my young 24-year-old nephew, who was visiting for the weekend, told me how professional it looked! He has an art background so the compliment meant even more...
Finished 1994 Prairie Schooler Santa
THANKS TO... my friend, Vickie (at A Stitcher's Story blog), who sent me a sweet prize package for guessing the color of her purse in a contest she had a while ago. I knew Vickie loved pink so I took it a step further and guessed that her purse was fuschia. I was right! Now, the most unusual gift I've ever received in my mailbox arrived in the form of bulbs--yes, you read that right--two iris bulbs! I have to admit, I just about screamed with fright when I first felt the damp newspaper that they were wrapped in. But, upon seeing the bulbs I knew right away they were two of Vickie's brown iris bulbs that she says smell just like chocolate. I had my husband plant them while I was in the hospital (more about that below) and I can hardly wait until next spring to sniff them myself. She also included another first--her first ever needle threader made into the shape of a little angel. I know I'll be putting this to good use, Vickie, as the older I get, the harder it is to thread my needle. I think she did a great job on it and I'm sure she'll be making more of them for friends in the future. Thank you so much, Vickie--little did you know how much I would need an angel on my shoulder watching over me on that very day I received your gifts...
Gifts from Vickie
Life's Hiccups... Are you wondering about the title of today's blog post? Well, we've all had them, right...those little bumps in the road, those curve balls that you didn't see coming and just turn your life upside down for a bit? A month ago today I experienced one of the bigger hiccups in my life when I ended up in the hospital for five days with something I had never even heard of...
My day had progressed in a perfectly ordinary manner--getting my hair cut, doing the grocery shopping, reading, and finally settling down for a quiet evening of stitching since my husband was at a dinner with his former co-workers. Ahh...there is nothing like a bit of stitching to totally relax you, is there? But, that night something went horribly wrong...WHAM! I was instantly hit with nearly unbearable pains in my lower belly which in turn led to vomiting and diarrhea. After a couple hours of this, I was just about ready to call my husband and ask him to come home when he walked in the door. Seeing me in the pain I was in, he suggested we leave for the hospital right then, but I kept thinking it was "just something I ate" so I convinced him to go to bed. Feeling a bit better myself, I retired to bed, only to be awoken at 2:00 in the morning with severe bloody diarrhea (which continued for the next 48 hours--ugh!!). Of course, we immediately rushed to the hospital's emergency room.
My "home away from home" for five days
After a plethora of tests (EKG, CT scan, colonoscopy, ultrasound) I was diagnosed with a new to me condition: Ischemic Colitis. Have any of you ever heard of it? To put it simply, the doctor said it is almost like a stroke of the colon--the blood supply is cut off or greatly diminished which causes the symptoms I described above. I don't actually fit into any of the groups of people who normally have an attack of ischemic colits: cocaine users (nope!), long-distance runners (nope!), and people who use a lot of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (nope!). So, what did cause it in my case? Possibly a blood clot which can be a side effect of the medicine I was taking for my osteoporosis, but the doctors couldn't say for sure. Needless to say, I'm no longer taking that particular medication. The idea of a blood clot is so very scary and I'm incredibly grateful it didn't end up traveling to my heart, brain, or lungs. Thankfully, the doctors think this was a one-time attack; it is not a chronic condition or something I, hopefully, will ever have to deal with again...
Five days later, I was released from the hospital, tired and weak, but just so happy to be going home! No more IV lines with fluids and antibiotics flowing into my veins non-stop, no more noisy hospital surroundings, no more bland liquid diet. But, I brought home a certain sense of vulnerability which I have never felt before. I feel like my body really let me down--I work so hard to eat right and exercise, but, obviously that is no guarantee of good health, is it? I am, to be honest with you, struggling a bit to return to "normal." I'll get there--it's just taking longer than I thought it would to get my energy back and to feel like the old me...
Flowers from my sons
brightened up my hospital room!
I am so grateful to all of you who wondered where I was and who sent emails and get well cards my way. What a wonderfully supportive blogging/stitching community we have here!! I feel very blessed to be part of it--thank you all so very much for your kind words and support. And to my dear husband and three wonderful sons--I know how scared you all were when I was in the hospital. "Mom" never gets sick, right? I mean I hadn't called off sick from work in 15 years! But, the flowers you sent and your love and encouragement sure made my hospital stay a bit easier. I love you guys so very much...
BEACH TIME... Three days after I was released from the hospital, we traveled to North Carolina's Outer Banks for our annual reunion with my husband's family. There were 21 of us in this giant house in Corolla called "Poseidon." This is the 29th year we have traveled down to the beach for our family get together and I think this was the nicest house ever! With 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms there was plenty of room for all. I simply sat most of the week under a tent on the beach and snoozed and read. I highly recommend two of the books--both really make you think about what you would do if faced with the situations encountered by the books' characters. "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes and "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty are both well worth reading!
Our 2013 beach house rental
Can you imagine a better medicine
than relaxing on this beautiful beach?
Do you see the rainbow?
A gorgeous sunset on our first night...
Even on a cloudy day, the beaches have a certain beauty.
These little crabs were so entertaining. My 9-year-old
triplet nieces loved feeding them "goldfish crackers."
Two days after we returned home, my middle son had surgery and moved home for a while so we could help him recuperate. And four days after that I drove up to my parents in New York to celebrate my youngest sister's birthday over Labor Day weekend. Whew... I am so glad to finally just relax at home again and to resume my normal routine of work, etc. You all know me--I love a simple life and things just got a bit too crazy in August! Hopefully, things will calm down and I have to say, I'm honestly looking forward to the cozy, quiet days of winter that lie ahead.
I'm so very far behind on blog reading and commenting--just had neither the energy nor the time last month, but I promise, I'll be visiting your blogs very soon. I miss all of you and miss seeing the inspirational creations that you tempt me with each time I stop by... Again, thank you all for your caring words during my illness--they helped more than you can imagine. Thanks for stopping by today--I'll really do my best not to be away so long again! Bye for now...